Not many people can say they continued working, and enjoying it, until they were 82. Myrlin Wagner, of Nisswa, is retiring from Spirits of Nisswa at age 82 after 10 years of service.
Wagner is the only original employee of the store — she’s been with it from the very beginning. According to the store’s manager, Ron Bialke, she’s the city’s oldest employee. And Wagner said she’s enjoyed her work at the store.
Wagner works two days a week, including Tuesdays, which is senior citizens discount day. She said she knows most of the people who come in, as many visit regularly.
“I’m people-oriented,” Wagner said. Her co-workers agree.
“She’s fun to work with,” said Nancy Baxter, who also works at the store. “She has a sense of humor, she’s light, she’s airy, she’s everything you’d want in a good friend.”
Baxter said that Wagner knows many of the people who come through the door on Tuesdays.
“She is excellent with customers, especially on Tuesday, the senior citizen day, because you get to know them and they know her. You know, you holler at them when they come in the door,” Baxter said.
Baxter added that Wagner often gives hugs when she hears of any bad news from customers, such as the passing of a loved one.
“Some people come in just for the hug,” Baxter said.
Wagner also brings life to the store when she decorates it, Baxter said, which Wagner does every year for the holidays.
Wagner winters in Florida, taking five months off and returning for the summertime. She decorates every year before she leaves, Baxter said.
“She has a knack. She puts her fingers on anything and it turns out beautiful,” she said.
Prior to her position at Spirits, Wagner worked at the Quarterdeck for more than 11 years and worked at Pro Staff for more than three years.
Wagner has worked as a bar owner, a bartender and a cocktail waitress.
“I enjoyed every one of them,” she said of her various jobs.
She owned a bar in Little Falls called the West Side Bar with her first husband, to whom she was married for 25 years before he passed away.
Wagner and her current husband, Tom, have been married for 33 years and have a blended family of eight children, 18 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
“And everybody gets along,” Wagner said happily.
Wagner’s last day is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. She’ll then travel to Florida with her husband, and expects plenty of visitors.
“When you vacation in a place that’s warm you get a lot of company,” she said.
When she returns in the spring, she won’t be at Spirits, but said she’ll be in on Tuesdays to visit for senior day.
Wagner said she’ll fill her extra time with all the things she enjoys doing, like golfing and bike riding. She’s on a couples’ golf league, and she’s also a member of the Nisswa Women’s Club.
Many who look at Wagner might not know she’s 82.
“I think routine is the thing,” Wagner said, commenting on how long she’s stayed working. “Maybe by keeping working it has kept me healthy. If you’re happy, you’re healthy,” she said, adding that she lives a very happy life.
“I’m very fortunate.”